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2022 NFL Draft Film Room Notes: Buffalo Bills punter, Matt Araiza

The Punt God comes to Buffalo

The Buffalo Bills were considered one of the more complete rosters heading into the draft. As a result, many projections afforded them a luxury pick that might have been a bit out of character. While the first-round running back didn’t materialize, the team did find a luxury pick after all. The team that punts the least drafted a punter. Not just any punter either. Matt Araiza, aka “Punt God” is coming to Buffalo. Let’s take a look.


Play 1

I think at this point we all know I hate the usual punting stats so, being candid, I have no idea what Araiza’s stats say. I don’t care. A year from now I’ll have some data using my NFL “Bad Punt” measure on the guy and THEN I’ll tell you what I think of his stats. For now let’s just look and focus on one stat I do trust.

Let’s start with this 86-yard punt, which definitely was a field flipper. Before I saved this clip I took a GIF of a stopwatch to make sure my software was calibrated to the frames per second it alleges to be. It was pretty close.

While I don’t think the GIF maker is perfect, and my frames might be off by a couple, I have this looooong punt clocked in with about a 4.3-second hang time. That’s not my favorite thing. A little longer would be nice to allow the coverage unit to get closer. A punt like this might have difficulty translating to the NFL.

Specifically, the faster the ball carrier gets the ball, the faster he can see where the blocks are, and the faster his teammates can organize.

Play 2

This isn’t an 86-yarder, but it’s pretty nice still isn’t it? Also, my software clocked this one in at 4.5-second hang time. Much better.

Play 3

On the rare occasion the Bills’ offense sputters on their end of the field, this is pretty nice security to have. He’s not shy about getting involved in the tackle either. Go ahead and search for more Araiza highlights. You’ll see what I mean.


Summary

I’ve seen a lot of division about Matt Araiza, especially considering his nickname. He’s clearly got a big leg, and while hang time is a concern, it’s not like he CAN’T kick it higher rather than further. And to be fair, I don’t know if that stat is collected with any precision anywhere. I’ve never been able to find good hang time info on my punting dives.

I think Araiza is a good case of wait-and-see. He’s physically gifted for the position even by NFL standards. Can he be as precise and consistent as we’re hoping? Only time will tell. He’s also never held for kicks before in a game situation. It’s okay to have high hopes, but the deity status will need to be proven.